DeveloperMicrosoft, Open Compute Project, and community
Written inC
OS familyUnix-like (Linux kernel)
Working stateCurrent
Source modelOpen source
Initial release2016; 7 years ago (2016)
Marketing targetNetwork devices
Kernel typeMonolithic
LicenseMix of open-source licenses including the GNU GPL and the Apache License

The Software for Open Networking in the Cloud or alternatively abbreviated and stylized as SONiC, is a free and open source network operating system based on Linux. It was originally developed by Microsoft and the Open Compute Project. In 2022, Microsoft ceded oversight of the project to the Linux Foundation, who will continue to work with the Open Compute Project for continued ecosystem and developer growth.[1][2][3][4] SONiC includes the networking software components necessary for a fully functional L3 device[5] and was designed to meet the requirements of a cloud data center. It allows cloud operators to share the same software stack across hardware from different switch vendors and works on over 100 different platforms.[3][5][6] There are multiple companies offering enterprise service and support for SONiC, including Hedgehog[7][8] and Aviz Networks[9][10]


SONiC was developed and open sourced by Microsoft in 2016.[2] The software decouples network software from the underlying hardware and is built on the Switch Abstraction Interface API.[1] It runs on network switches and ASICs from multiple vendors.[2] Notable supported network features include Border Gateway Protocol (BGP), remote direct memory access (RDMA), QoS, and various other Ethernet/IP technologies.[2] Much of the protocol support is provided through inclusion of the FRRouting suite of routing daemons.[11]

The SONiC community includes cloud providers, service providers, and silicon and component suppliers, as well as networking hardware OEMs and ODMs. It has more than 850 members.[2] Companies using and/or contributing to SONiC include Alibaba Group, xFlow Research, Aviz Networks,[12] Celestica, Arista Networks,[13] Broadcom,[3] Dell,[3] Cisco Systems,[14] Comcast, Hedgehog, Juniper,[15] Nokia, Nvidia-Mellanox[16] and VMware.[2] SONiC is used in Microsoft’s Azure networking services.[2]

The source code is licensed under a mix of open source licenses including the GNU General Public License and the Apache License, and is available on GitHub.[17][18]


  1. ^ a b Branscombe, Mary (July 22, 2019). "Is SONiC, the Open Source Network OS, Ready for Mainstream?". DataCenter Knowledge.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g Subramaniam, Kamala (March 9, 2016). "Microsoft showcases "Software for Open Networking in the Cloud (SONiC)"".
  3. ^ a b c d Hardesty, Linda (March 3, 2020). "Microsoft Provides Open Source Cloud Switch Software". sdxcentral.
  4. ^ "Software for Open Networking in the Cloud (SONiC) Moves to the Linux Foundation - Linux Foundation". Retrieved 2022-12-05.
  5. ^ a b Verma, Adarsh (March 10, 2016). "SONiC — Microsoft's Debian Linux-based Operating System For Networking". FOSSBYTES.
  6. ^ "Supported Devices and Platforms · sonic-net/SONiC Wiki". GitHub. Retrieved 2022-12-05.
  7. ^ Raynovich, R. Scott. "Hedgehog Looks To Supersize SONiC". Forbes. Retrieved 2023-02-10.
  8. ^ Cooney, Michael (2022-12-08). "SONiC builds muscle for enterprise-network service in 2023". Network World. Retrieved 2023-02-10.
  9. ^ "Aviz Launches ONES, Industry's First SONiC Supportability Stack". 2022-11-08. Retrieved 2022-12-05.
  10. ^ "Aviz Networks launches platform for SoNic integration". 8 November 2022. Retrieved 2022-12-05.[dead link]
  11. ^ "FRR: The Most Popular Network Router You've Never Heard Of". 26 October 2020.
  12. ^ "Aviz Networks Secures Funding to Accelerate Modernization of Data Center and Edge Networks". Retrieved 2022-08-01.[dead link]
  13. ^ "Arista Extends Open Cloud Networking Software Leadership".
  14. ^ "Cisco Catalyst vs Nexus Switches — RSF Supply". Retrieved 2023-07-01.
  15. ^ "Juniper Networks Integrates with 'Software for Open Networking in the Cloud' Platform -". Virtualization Review.
  16. ^ "Full ASIC-to-Protocol Support for SONIC on Mellanox Spectrum".
  17. ^ Foley, Mary Jo (March 9, 2016). "Microsoft submits new open-sourced networking components to Open Compute Project". ZDNet.
  18. ^ Williams, Chris Williams (March 9, 2016). "Microsoft has crafted a switch OS on Debian Linux. Repeat, a switch OS on Debian Linux". The Register.